How to Remove Acrylic Paint from Wood

If you’ve accidentally applied too much acrylic paint to the surface of your wood furniture, or you need to take it off and start over, don’t worry! Acrylic paint is relatively reasonably easy to remove from wood with the right product, and you can use these tips as general guidelines regardless of what brand of paint you used in the first place. The methods are standard on any piece of wood, whether a  table, a door, or just any piece of furniture.

Removing acrylic paint from wood

1. Using soap and rag.

This easiest method will not consume most of your time or effort. It is also very effective.

Steps to remove Acrylic using soap

  • Dampen the rag or cloth.
  • Apply medium pressure as you wipe; run it back and forth.
  • Rotate the rag around to avoid saturation.

However, wiping acrylic paint stains may not be effective on old paint stains. The whole aim is to remove the extra acrylic paint that is still fresh. Therefore after gently rubbing the wet cloth over the wood, you will now proceed to clean it deeply.

  • Pour hot water into a rag.
  • Use any glycerine soap, so long as it produces enough lather.
  • It will help you clean the wood deeply without leaving behind not even the slightest sign of acrylic paint.
  • Gently rub the rag on the remaining paint.
  • Keep rubbing the rag back and forth on the surface.
  • Add extra soap if necessary until you get rid of the stain completely.
  • Depending on the intensity of the paint, you may require several rags.
  • Continue wiping until you have neutralized the soap.

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Allow the wood to dry.

After all that cleaning to remove all the acrylic paint, the wood will be entirely wet. Allow it to dry.

  • Using a dry rag or cloth, wipe the damp area. Rub the rag against the wet surface until there is no moisture left.
  • The wood might still be wet; hence allow it to dry for up to 48 hours. The process will take more or lesser time, depending on the size of the wood.

Once the wood has dried, you will successfully remove acrylic paint using soap and a rag.

2. Using Olive oil.

This is the second method to opt for if the first one doesn’t work best for you. The use of olive oil is an alternative and also is great because it is a natural product. The use of Olive oil softens the paint making it easy to remove.

Steps to remove Acrylic using Olive oil.

  • Pour some olive oil on the rag.
  • Rub the rag around the wood.
  • Spread the oil in all the places where you find acrylic paint.
  • Allow the olive oil to sit on the Acrylic for 15 minutes.
  • Don’t touch the surface until the oil settles.
  • This should soak the paint and remove it from the wood.
  • You will notice how the acrylic paint will begin softening up.
  • When the paint has completely softened, you can scrape it off.
  • Here you will use a paint scraper or a putty knife, depending on your preference.
  • Begin by softly pushing the knife and scraping the surface off the paint.
  • Remove all the acrylic paint as you can. Be careful not to damage the wood.

After 30 minutes to 1 hour, you should have removed the paint using olive oil as a softener.

3. Using a heat gun.

This method can only be efficient if you remove the paint from large wood surfaces such as an entire door or furniture. Other ways, like soap or olive oil, will be practical if you need to clean a few spots.

When using a heat gun, read the instructions on how to use the heat gun carefully. If you use too high a setting, you can char the wood or start a fire. The melting point can also produce dangerous vapours; ensure you wear the correct protective gear, such as goggles, a mask, or a respirator.

Steps to remove Acrylic with a heat gun

  • Point the gun at the paint and turn it on.
  • Hold it 3-4 inches or 7-10 centimetres away from the stain for around 10-30 seconds.
  • Try moving the heat gun in small circular motions to heat a larger area at a go.
  • On the one hand, as you hold the heat gun, use the other hand to try and get under the stain with the edge of the knife.
  • The paint should start to soften and peel off.
  • Clean off the putty knife as required and keep scraping until all the paint is gone.
  • Turn off the heat gun as you clean the knife.
  • Please wait until the surface is excellent and wipe it using a wet cloth to remove any residue.
  • To make the cleaning as effective as possible, add some soap.

4. Using Alcohol.

Alcohol is another excellent product you can use to get rid of Acrylic paint from wood

Steps for removing Acrylic using Alcohol

  • Get a rag
  • Take any necessary rubbing alcohol and pour some alcohol on the rag
  • Ensure the rag is slightly wet.
  • Begin by rubbing the rag back and forth on the surface until the paint separates from the wood.
  • Continue adding more Alcohol to the rag as needed. However, don’t dampen the entire piece but ensure it is sufficiently wet.
  • You must be careful when handling Alcohol as it could damage the wood.
  • Don’t be too rigid when rubbing the paint off.
  • The more layers you remove, the simpler it will be for Alcohol to penetrate.

5. Using a solvent.

In this method, you have to consider the following:

Select the suitable solvent.

The most popular paint remover is methylene chloride. It is solid and should be handled with a lot of care.

Moreover, some solvents are citrus-based and more environmentally friendly but are still harmful, and you should take the proper safety measures.

Solvents are bought at any local hardware or paint store.

Wear safety gear.

Put on eye protection such as goggles or safety glasses. Also, wear a ventilation mask to guard yourself against dangerous vapours. It is also recommended you wear gloves and long sleeves because the material could splash.

Create proper ventilation.

If possible, when using a solvent, work outside. However, open all windows and doors if you can’t move the wood or furniture.

Also, you can position a fan behind you to eliminate the fumes through the window or door.

Roll or brush on the solvent.

  • Get a paintbrush or paint roller and apply a thin solvent layer to the paint.
  • Let it settle for about 20 minutes per the guide’s recommended time.
  • The paint will produce bubbles as the solvent is working.

Scrape off bubbled paint.

  • With a blunt plastic scraper, scratch off the paint that has started bubbling and peeling.
  • Do not use sharp metal tools that will chip the wood.
  • Collect the peeling paint in a disposable container or bag.

Clean the area with mineral spirits.

Some manufacturers say that water alone cleans the area, but mineral spirits will leave the wood neutralized.

Therefore, wipe the wood surface with a rag soaked in mineral spirits.

Wait so that you can refinish the wood later.

Allow the wood to dry completely for at least a week, and air out before you try applying any stains or waxes.

Rub the paint off using sandpaper or steel wool.

  • Get a steel wool or fine sandpaper (150-180 grit).
  • If there is a lot of paint to remove, start with a coarser one, like 80-120 grit or, in extreme scenarios, use 40-60 grit.
  • Sand the surface gently to remove only the paint.

If the wooden surface is large, you can use power sanders, but ensure you put on a protective mask and safety glasses and follow the instructions carefully.

Clean the wood using a wet cloth.

  • Rub a damp rag over the wood to wipe off sawdust and debris.
  • Swap the rag with a clean one if it gets too dirty while cleaning.
  • Refinish wood.
  • Once it is dry, refinish the wood using the same strain or finish you had used before.
  • If there was none left or you don’t remember exactly what you used, try to make it look with samples from the local hardware store.

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Conclusion: How to Remove Acrylic Paint from Wood

In summation, all these methods effectively remove acrylic paint from wood when the instructions are read and followed carefully.

Select the best method depending on the state of the paint and how readily available the materials required are.